Eleven-year-olds Abigail and Hannah become friends when Hannah suddenly appears in Abigail’s St. Paul yard in 1912 after Abigail’s aunt gives her a book entitled The Secret Garden. This is a time travel story with a switch; Abigail and Hannah both live in the same house only they live there one hundred years apart. This excellent read highlights what a Midwestern Jewish girl might have experienced during the social, cultural, and political transformations of the early twentieth century. They discuss issues of the time such as women’s right to vote, workers’ rights, and racial equality. The traditions and practices of Judaism are integrated into the daily lives of both girls, who observe their religion similarly one hundred years apart. Abigail and Hannah share the excitement of having read many of the same books, although their perspectives on those books reflect the different times in which they live. Although Hannah knows that some of the issues of the day will resolve in the future, she doesn’t give Abigail the details. The girls ingeniously solve the problem of how to get Hannah back to the future without being missed in her own time. Black and white drawings portray the characters and show places, clothes, and decorative items mentioned in the story. This book is recommended for ages 8 – 12.
Barbara Silverman had an M.L.S. from Texas Woman’s University. She worked as a children’s librarian at the Corpus Christi Public Libraries and at the Corpus Christi ISD before retiring. She worked as a volunteer at the Astor Judaic Library of the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla, CA. Sadly, Barbara passed away is 2012.
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